The Smokies offer activities and things to do for visitors of various ages and interests. Recommended Smoky Mountain activities include camping, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, fishing, horseback riding, and nature viewing. There are also opportunities for ranger-guided programs.
There are many opportunities to bike on roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but none as popular as the 11 mile one way Cades Cove Loop Road. This loop provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring of 19th century home sites. Deer and black bear are the most popular animals sighted along the way.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at ten locations within the park. These campgrounds have restrooms with cold running water, flush toilets, fire grates and picnic tables. For the avid backpacker, backcountry camping is another option for things to do in the Smoky Mountains.
The Great Smoky Mountains is home to one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern United States. With over 2,115 miles of streams in its boundaries, the Smokies offer a variety of angling experiences from remote, headwater trout streams to large, cool water small mouth bass streams. Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. The park allows fishing in all streams.
Horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an exciting way to enjoy the outdoors and one of the more exciting things to do in the Smoky Mountains. There are approximately 550 miles of the park’s trails that are open to horses. Take advantage of the many opportunities to view nature from horseback. If you wish to rent a horse, horseback riding by the hour is available at five different commercial stables located in the park from mid-March through late November.
There are 850 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On these trails you can wander the mountain ridges, investigate the isolated coves and experience for yourself the mystery of the mountains. Some of the best times to hike the Great Smoky Mountains are spring and fall. Temperatures are mild and the splendor of abundant spring wildflowers or autumn forests of red and gold prove a thrill for every audience.
In Spring? Lush green everywhere and lovely all the way. In Winter? Perfect view of mountain topography with vivid details of the forest floor. Large growth forest scenes envelope your senses as you glide though the mountain mist. Take a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cades Cove Loop, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out The Tail Of The Dragon.
Just For Kids
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers “Parks As Classrooms” for students K-8th grades. This allows teachers to bring their students to the park for a hands-on learning experience. Check out one of our kid-friendly blogs for tips on all kinds of things to do in Pigeon Forge with the family.
Once extinct in this region, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has successfully re-introduced Elk into the region. Elk once roamed in East Tennessee. It is believed that the last elk was killed sometime in the mid-1800s.